Finance & Taxation | Marketing & Merchandising | National | Store Operations

Canada’s top 100 retailers

July 7, 2022

The CSCA Retail 100, created by the Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity (CSCA) at Toronto Metropolitan University, brings you the top 100 retail organizations operating in Canada as ranked by total estimated annual retail sales in fiscal 2020/2021.

By Maurice Yeates, Tony Hernandez, and Jennifer Nhieu

This analysis incorporates three national sets of sales data: the first uses Statistics Canada’s annual retail commodity surveys for 2019 and 20203 ; a second, produced annually as the CSCA Retail 100 report, is based on an analysis of the top 100 conglomerates (Canada or ‘offshore’ owned) which dominate the retail industry (as defined by the CSCA); and the third, also compiled as part of the CSCA Retail 100 report, focuses on the top 100 chains themselves. Conglomerates are important actors because they exert a significant influence on the country’s retail economy, be it in the form of competitive pressures on other firms or on leasing companies which provide the space in which businesses operate. The retail chain data (RCH 100:2020) identifies the well-known banners in the retail environment that depend on the immediacies of the market. It is their profitability that drives the economic performance of the retail conglomerate to which they belong.

Summary

2020 was a frantic year for retail. A virulent COVID-19 respiratory disease arrived in late January. The epidemic spread rapidly, and with hospitals hard-pressed and infection and death rates rising, the more densely inhabited parts of the country faced crisis by the second week in March and the rest of the country by the end of the month. What to do? There were no existing applicable vaccines so directions and compensations/ subsidies related to distancing, masking, stay at home, business lock-downs, work from home, unemployment, school closures, lost income, mall shut-downs, and designation of businesses and services as ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ became necessary. Decisions and policies with respect to these issues have been made in the context of Federal/Provincial jurisdictions, albeit played out at the local municipal level.

The CSCA Retail 100 has examined the consequences of these rapidly introduced actions and measures on retailing – particularly the impact of ‘closures’ and ‘designations’. The discussion is conducted in the context of three sets of annual tabulations of ‘retail sales’: Statistics Canada’s annual retail commodity surveys for 2019 and 202022; CSCA’s 2020 tabulation (Table 1) and 2019 Report on the100 leading conglomerates with retail activity in Canada; and, CSCA’s 2020 tabulation of the 100 leading retail chains (Table 2) and 2019 report on the leading chains in the country23. One resounding conclusion from this data is that the ongoing trend for a few large conglomerates to increase control of the retail environment has accelerated because policies designed to mitigate the pandemic have also had the effect of assuring the viability of the largest companies.

For more information concerning the CSCA Retail Top 100, or to download a full version of the report, visit the CSCA website.

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